How long does a dental bridge last?
With proper care, a dental bridge can last longer than a decade. Because patients’ oral hygiene routines, diets, and habits can have a significant effect on the lifespan of a dental bridge, it is difficult to precisely answer the question, “How long does a dental bridge last.” Dentists themselves may even disagree on how long a dental bridge can reasonably be expected to last. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a dental bridge can be expected to last five to seven years. The University of Rochester Medical Center, however, says that most dental bridges can last longer than 10 years and may even have the potential to last a lifetime. When discussing the lifespan of a dental bridge, it’s important to understand why some dental bridges fail. The largest contributing factor to the failure of a dental bridge is the gradual decay of the area that supports the bridge. This is most likely in the case of the most commonly used dental bridge, which is mounted on crowns that are placed on top of the teeth adjacent to the gap. These adjacent teeth are called “abutment teeth.” The abutment teeth must be filed down, sometimes significantly, to create enough room to place the crowns that will support the bridge. While this filing is necessary to place the crowns on the abutment teeth, it also increases the likelihood of gum disease around the filed tooth and tooth decay in the filed tooth. This may lead to an increased need for root canals, and, when a supporting tooth fails, it is also more likely to cause the entire dental bridge to fail. General health, including oral health, also plays an important role in the overall lifespan of dental bridges. While certain foods, like nuts, caramel, or popcorn, are known to put undue stress on the teeth and also on dental bridges, other dietary choices may not have as obvious an effect but are still important. Dentists recommend eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, to maintain overall health, which, in turn, supports oral health. Dental bridge wearers are also advised to reduce their intake of sugary or starchy foods, which are known to cause tooth decay.
Caring for dental bridges requires careful adherence to consistent oral health habits. These general habits combine to increase the lifespan of a dental bridge. It is important to floss daily and brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, you may find it helpful to use a water pick to rinse any trapped debris out from under the bridge, and dentists recommend using a floss threader, if needed, to floss the area around the dental bridge. Particles of debris may become trapped around and beneath the dental bridge, which exposes the surrounding teeth to excessive risk of tooth decay. It is also advised to have your dental bridge professionally cleaned, along with the rest of your teeth and mouth tissue, every six months. As you can see, the lifespan of a dental bridge depends largely on the habits and hygiene of the wearer, and, with the proper care, a dental bridge can provide you with a strong, functional smile for ten or more years.
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